SDF launches operation against ISIS sleeper cells in al-Hol camp

SDF fighters launch an operation in Al-Hol Camp to root out Islamic State militants, March 28, 2021.

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has launched an operation in the al-Hol camp in eastern Syria on Sunday to root out Islamic State sleeper cells, according to the group.

The group, consisted of Kurdish and Arab fighters, alongside the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and the internal security forces launched the operation, dubbed “Humanitarian and Security Operation”.

“The al-Hol camp has turned into a center where ISIS is being reorganized,” the SDF said in a statement. “Civilians inside the camps are attacked, murders are carried out.”

“The situation poses a danger to everyone inside the camp,” the U.S.-backed group added, stating that the operation will continue to protect civilians.

The SDF further said at least 47 people had been killed in the camp since the beginning of this year.

The camp, controlled by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), holds 62,000 people from many countries, according to the United nations.

In February, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Jens Laerke said the United Nations had received reports of 12 Syrian and Iraqi nationals being murdered in the first half of January at the camp.

Kurdish fighters have seized much of northern and eastern Syria from ISIS with U.S. backing. They have since held thousands of militants in prisons, while their wives and children – numbering tens of thousands, many of them foreigners – are living in camps.

Kurdish leaders have repeatedly warned that the Islamic State fighters and their families pose a security threat and that they cannot detain the foreigners indefinitely, but foreign governments have hesitated to repatriate their citizens.

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